Purpose: To assess the relationship between different types of cataract or past cataract surgery and late or early age-related maculopathy (ARM) in an older population.
Methods: A population-based survey examined 3,654 people aged >/=49 years, 82% of permanent residents of an area near Sydney, Australia. Participants had a detailed eye examination, including standardised dilated lens and stereo macular photographs. Presence of cataract and ARM was diagnosed from masked photographic grading using the Wisconsin Cataract and Age-related Maculopathy Grading Systems. Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) and logistic regression models were used in the statistical analysis.
Results: Higher prevalence was found for both late and early ARM in eyes with cataract or a past history of cataract surgery. However, after adjusting for age, sex and other ARM risk factors, no consistent association was found between presence of cortical, nuclear or posterior subcapsular (PSC) cataract or past history of cataract surgery and either late or early ARM. In the GEE model, the only statistically significant association found was between PSC and late ARM. Non-significant increased odds were found for late ARM in eyes with cortical cataract. However, detailed analyses of cortical cataract location failed to show a relationship.
Conclusions: The co-existence of cataract and ARM was almost entirely explained by the age-related increase in prevalence of both conditions. We found no evidence of a consistent relationship between cortical, nuclear or PSC cataract or history of past cataract surgery and either late or early ARM, after adjusting for age and other potential ARM risk factors. The possibility of a relationship between PSC and late ARM or between cortical cataract and any ARM was not excluded. Long-term follow up data from this population will be useful.